Last modified on 9 December 2014, at 22:17

Appendix:Spanish verbs

Main category: Spanish verbs

Spanish verb conjugation is one of the most complex areas of Spanish grammar for native English speakers due to the relatively high degree of inflection.

Spanish verb conjugations are separated into three finite moods (indicative, subjunctive, and imperative)[1] and a few non-finite forms.

Non-finite formsEdit

Each verb has an infinitive, an adverbial present participle (sometimes known as the gerundive, verbal adverb, or gerund, but functionally quite different from the gerund of English grammar), and a passive perfect participle (past participle) that can further inflect with number and gender. Some verbs also have an adjectival present participle, generally considered to be an adjective derived from the verb rather than a form of the verb itself.

  • Infinitive: hablar (to speak)
  • Adverbial present participle: hablando (speaking)
  • Past participle: hablado (spoken);
  • Adjectival present participle: hablante (speaking; speaker) (plural: hablantes)

Finite formsEdit

The finite forms are grouped into seven distinct “simple tenses” (in a general sense of “tense” that refers to a specific time and a specific mood, although most modern grammars consider many of these forms as products of a tense and an aspect) and seven “perfect tenses”. The perfect tenses use the auxiliary verb haber along with the past participle. Other compound forms such as the present progressive are not considered to be an official conjugation of the verb.

PronounsEdit

Each of the finite “tenses” is conjugated according to the person and number of the subject. Nominative forms of Spanish pronouns often serve as the subject of such verbs. Frequently, though, the form of the verb makes the person and number of the subject clear. Thus, the subject pronoun is usually dropped altogether, except when used for emphasis or contrast:

  • Implied: Soy de España. ([I] am from Spain.)
  • Emphasized: Él es de Portugal, pero yo soy de España. (He is from Portugal, but I am from Spain.)

For most native speakers, the unnecessary use of these pronouns often sounds extremely foreign, so something like "Yo me levanté, yo me lavé los dientes and yo me vestí" (I woke up, I brushed my teeth and I got dressed) would sound extremely weird in most dialects, where the first "yo" would probably be omitted in most cases, and the other two would never be used unless a comical effect is sought.

However, there are certain contrastive cases where the pronouns are practically compulsory. For example, when listing or introducing several people, each one require a pronoun (or other demonstrative) to separate this person from the rest. Thus, in a sentence like "Ella se llama María; yo (me llamo) Javier" (Her name is María; mine is Javier), that "yo" cannot be omitted unless the topic is being suddenly changed.

The 2nd person formal singular pronoun usted (abbreviated as Vd.) (“you”, literally, “your grace”) and its plural form ustedes take verbs conjugated in the third person. This is similar to the English practice of using third person verb forms with Your Majesty, Your Highness, and your Honor:

  • Usted habla. — Third person singular form of hablar, literally, “Your grace speaks.”
  • Ustedes hablan. — Third person plural form of hablar, literally, “Your graces speak.”

The use of usted and ustedes is very common in Spanish and is the equivalent of speaking on a last-name basis in English.

In Latin American Spanish, there is another pronoun, vos, used in place of . The use of it in speech is known as voseo in Spanish. Its use and conjugation is the same as for except in the present indicative and the imperative.

  • Vos hablás. — Second person singular (vos) present indicative form of hablar, "You speak"
  • ¡Hablá! — Second person singular (vos) imperative form of hablar, "Speak!"

In most parts of Latin America, vosotros is not used, as ustedes is preferred and is valid in both formal and informal situations.

IndicativeEdit

The indicative mood has simple tense forms and corresponding perfect, continuous, and perfect continuous forms, as in English. However, in traditional Spanish grammar, continuous forms are ignored, and only the simple tenses and their perfect versions are considered as tenses.

Simple tensesEdit

The Spanish indicative mood has four “simple tenses”. As opposed to English, which has just one past tense form, Spanish distinguishes between the preterite and the imperfect aspect. The preterite describes an event with a beginning and an end, but the imperfect describes a context without indicating its beginning or end. Within traditional Spanish grammar, the preterite and imperfect forms are considered separate tenses, with aspect controlled by auxiliary verbs, but modern grammar studies consider the preterite and imperfect to be different aspects of a single tense.

Besides the future tense, alternative constructions are often used to indicate a future event:

  • With ir (to go) + a (to) + infinitive: Voy a hablar. (I am going to speak.)
  • With temporal adverbs like mañana (morning, tomorrow): Mi padre llega mañana. (My father arrives tomorrow.)
  • Immediate future with estar a punto de (to be about to [do something]) + infinitive: Mi padre está a punto de llegar. (My father is about to arrive.)
  • With ya (already): Mi padre ya llega. (My father arrives soon.)

Spanish present tense verbs often express future actions, although the future tense does so more explicitly. The future tense can also express some uncertainty about the present and immediate future:

  • ¿Qué hora es? Serán las tres. (What time is it? It is (probably) about three.)
  • ¿Quién llama a la puerta? Será José. (Who is at the door? It must be José.)

As with the future tense, the conditional can express some uncertainty that is not indicated by the corresponding imperfect verb form:

  • ¿Qué hora era? Serían las tres. — “What time was it? It was about three (but I had not checked).”
  • ¿Quién llamaba a la puerta? Sería José. — “Who was at the door? It must have been José.”

Perfect formsEdit

Spanish perfect tenses are always formed with haber ((auxilliary verb) to have) (unlike some other Romance languages, which use different auxilliary verbs based on the main verb) followed by the masculine singular form of the passive perfect participle:

The past anterior indicates that an action occured just after another, with words such as cuando (when), nada más (no sooner) and en cuanto (as soon as).

Continuous formsEdit

Similar to English, Spanish uses the copula—estar (to be)—with the adverbial present participle to express continuous activity:

Note: the past anterior continuous (pretérito anterior continuo) is rarely used in modern Spanish.

The distinction between habitual actions and current activity is less strict in Spanish than in English:

  • hablo (I speak) (a habit or a current activity)
  • estoy hablando (I am speaking) (stressing the current activity)

SubjunctiveEdit

The subjunctive mood is most commonly used to express the speaker’s opinion, wish, doubt, emotion, or judgement about the unlikelihood of a hypothetical event. There are, however, plenty of other situations when it is used.

Simple tensesEdit

Perfect formsEdit

Continuous formsEdit

The subjunctive is often used with a conditional verb:

  • Desearía que estuvieses aquí. — “I wish that you were here.”
  • Me alegraría mucho si volvieras mañana. — “I would be very glad if you came back tomorrow.”

The present subjunctive is formed from the stem of the first person present indicative of a verb. Therefore, for an irregular verb like salir (to leave) with the first person salgo (I leave), the present subjunctive is salga, not *sala. The use of the imperfect subjunctive is determined by tense of the main verb of a sentence, not necessarily the tense of the subjunctive verb itself. The -ra and -se forms are always interchangeable without any changes in meaning.

The future tense of the subjunctive is obsolete in practice, found today mostly in old texts and legal documents. In other contexts, it is usually replaced by the indicative form, except in certain fixed expressions, including venga lo que viniere (come what may), sea lo que fuere, and the proverb allá donde fueres, haz lo que vieres.

ImperativeEdit

The imperative mood has five forms, but only the second person (familiar) forms are distinct from the subjunctive. The second person singular imperative form coincides with the third-person singular indicative form for all but a few irregular verbs. In the formal writing, the second person plural imperative is always the same as the infinitive but with a -d instead of an -r.

  • ¡Habla! — “Speak!” (informal singular, corresponding to )
  • ¡Hable! — “Speak!” (formal singular, corresponding to usted)
  • ¡Hablás! — “Speak!” (informal singular, corresponding to vos)
  • ¡Hablemos! — “Let us speak!” (corresponding to nosotros)
  • ¡Hablad! — “Speak!” (prescribed plural corresponding to vosotros, rarely used in casual speech)
  • ¡Hablar! — “Speak!” (common plural corresponding to vosotros, unaccepted by the Real Academia Española)
  • ¡Hablen! — “Speak!” (plural corresponding to ustedes; see Appendix:Spanish pronouns for regional formality details)

For negative commands, the subjunctive is used instead, e.g.:

  • ¡No hables! — “Do not speak!” (informal singular, corresponding to or vos)
  • ¡No hable! — “Do not speak!” (formal singular, corresponding to usted)
  • ¡No hablemos! — “Let us not speak!” (corresponding to nosotros)
  • ¡No habléis! — “Do not speak!” (plural corresponding to vosotros; see Appendix:Spanish pronouns for regional details)
  • ¡No hablen! — “Do not speak!” (plural corresponding to ustedes; see Appendix:Spanish pronouns for regional formality details)

Object pronounsEdit

The object pronoun is placed after the infinitive, gerund, and positive imperative, and before other forms. Exceptions are made in poetry for scansion. Pronouns are agglutinative, with the following exceptions:

  • If le or les precedes lo, la, los, or las, it becomes se.
  • If a form ending in -mos is followed by nos, the s drops, resulting in -monos.
  • If a form ending in -d is followed by os, the d drops, resulting in -aos, -eos or -íos.

AccentEdit

The word stress remains the same when pronouns are suffixed. The written accent is thus added, kept, or removed as needed to mark it when it falls on a non-default syllable, according to the general rules.

  • quitar = "to remove"; quitarle = "to remove from you (formal singular) or him/her"; quitárselas = "to remove them (feminine) from you/him/her"
  • acercad = "bring close (imperative informal plural)"; acercaos = "bring yourselves close, draw near"
  • vamos = "let us go"; vámonos = "let us leave"
  • lave = "wash (imperative formal singular)"; láveme = "wash me"
  • lavé = "I washed"; laveme = me lavé = "I washed myself"
  • vio = "he saw"; violo = lo vio = "he saw it", or "I violate" (from violar, "to violate")

ExamplesEdit

Most Spanish verbs fall into one of three regular conjugations, based on the last vowel of the infinitive form, which always ends in -ar, -er, or -ir.

The following three conjugation tables illustrate the patterns used by regular Spanish verbs.

Regular verbs ending in -arEdit

Following is the conjugation of the regular -ar verb hablar (to speak):

infinitive hablar
gerund hablando
past participle hablado
person singular plural
first second third first second third
indicative yo tú/vos él, ella, usted[2] nosotros, nosotras vosotros, vosotras ellos, ellas, ustedes[2]
present hablo hablas, hablásvos habla hablamos habláis hablan
imperfect hablaba hablabas hablaba hablábamos hablabais hablaban
preterite hablé hablaste habló hablamos hablasteis hablaron
future hablaré hablarás hablará hablaremos hablaréis hablarán
conditional hablaría hablarías hablaría hablaríamos hablaríais hablarían
perfect he hablado has hablado ha hablado hemos hablado habéis hablado han hablado
pluperfect había hablado habías hablado había hablado habíamos hablado habíais hablado habían hablado
future perfect habré hablado habrás hablado habrá hablado habremos hablado habréis hablado habrá hablado
conditional perfect habría hablado habrías hablado habría hablado habríamos hablado habríais hablado habría hablado
subjunctive yo tú/vos él, ella, usted[2] nosotros/nosotras vosotros/vosotras ellos, ellas, ustedes[2]
present hable hables hable hablemos habléis hablen
imperfect (-ra form) hablara hablaras hablara habláramos hablarais hablaran
imperfect (-se form) hablase hablases hablase hablásemos hablaseis hablasen
future hablare hablares hablare habláremos hablareis hablaren
imperative tú/vos él, ella, usted[2] nosotros/nosotras vosotros/vosotras ellos, ellas, ustedes[2]
habla, hablávos hable hablemos hablad hablen

Regular verbs ending in -erEdit

Conjugations of comer
infinitive comer
gerund comiendo
past participle comido
number singular plural
person first second third first second third
indicative yo el, ella
usted
nosotros vosotros ellos, ellas
ustedes
simple
tenses
present como comes come comemos coméis comen
imperfect comía comías comía comíamos comíais comían
preterit comí comiste comió comimos comisteis comieron
future comeré comerás comerá comeremos comeréis comerán
conditional comería comerías comería comeríamos comeríais comerían
compound
tenses
perfect
tenses
present Use the present tense of haber plus comido.
he comido has comido ha comido hemos comido habéis comido han comido
past Use the imperfect tense of haber plus comido.
había comido habías comido había comido habíamos comido habíais comido habían comido
preterit Use the preterit tense of haber plus comido.
hube comido hubiste comido hubo comido hubimos comido hubisteis comido hubieron comido
future Use the future tense of haber plus comido.
habré comido habrás comido habrá comido habremos comido habreis comido habrán comido
conditional Use the conditional tense of haber plus comido.
habría comido habrías comido habría comido habríamos comido habríais comido habrían comido
progressive
tenses
present Use the present tense of estar plus comiendo.
estoy comiendo estás comiendo está comiendo estamos comiendo estáis comiendo están comiendo
imperfect Use the imperfect tense of estar plus comiendo.
estaba comiendo estabas comiendo estaba comiendo estábamos comiendo estabais comiendo estaban comiendo
preterit Use the preterit tense of estar plus comiendo.
estuve comiendo estuviste comiendo estuvo comiendo estuvimos comiendo estuvisteis comiendo estuvieron comiendo
future Use the future tense of estar plus comiendo.
estaré comiendo estarás comiendo estará comiendo estaremos comiendo estaréis comiendo estarán comiendo
conditional Use the conditional tense of estar plus comiendo.
estaría comiendo estarías comiendo estaría comiendo estaríamos comiendo estaríais comiendo estarían comiendo
present perfect Use the present perfect tense of estar plus comiendo.
he estado comiendo has estado comiendo ha estado comiendo hemos estado comiendo habéis estado comiendo han estado comiendo
past perfect Use the past perfect tense of estar plus comiendo.
había estado comiendo habías estado comiendo había estado comiendo habíamos estado comiendo habíais estado comiendo habían estado comiendo
number singular plural
person first second third first second third
subjunctive yo el, ella
usted
nosotros vosotros ellos, ellas
ustedes
simple
tenses
present coma comas coma comamos comáis coman
imperfect comiera
comiese
comieras
comieses
comiera
comiese
comiéramos
comiésemos
comierais
comieseis
comieran
comiesen
future comiere comieres comiere comiéremos comiereis comieren
compound
tenses
perfect
tenses
present Use the present subjunctive tense of haber plus comido.
haya comido hayas comido haya comido hayamos comido hayáis comido hayan comido
past Use the imperfect subjunctive tense of haber plus comido.
hubiera comido hubieras comido hubiera comido hubiéramos comido hubierais comido hubieran comido
progressive
tenses
present Use the present subjunctive tense of estar plus comiendo.
esté comiendo estés comiendo esté comiendo estemos comiendo estéis comiendo estén comiendo
imperfect Use the imperfect subjunctive tense of estar plus comiendo.
estuviera comiendo estuvieras comiendo estuviera comiendo estuviéramos comiendo estuvierais comiendo estuvieran comiendo
present perfect Use the present perfect tense of estar plus comiendo.
haya estado comiendo hayas estado comiendo haya estado comiendo hayamos estado comiendo hayáis estado comiendo hayan estado comiendo
past perfect Use the past perfect tense of estar plus comiendo.
hubiera estado comiendo hubieras estado comiendo hubiera estado comiendo hubiéramos estado comiendo hubierais estado comiendo hubieran estado comiendo
number singular plural
person first second third first second third
- el, ella
usted
nosotros vosotros ellos, ellas
ustedes
imperative none come coma comamos comed coman

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Traditional linguistics often categorizes the conditional as a separate mood from the indicative, thereby having four moods. This article uses the modern classification.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 The semantically 2nd person pronouns usted (your grace) and ustedes (your graces) take verbs conjugated in the third person.

See alsoEdit